Why are Wellness Travel Experiences on The Rise?

Now more than ever, more and more people are seeking not just a holiday, but rather a holistic and transformational mind-body experience – escapes that heal the body and expand the mind are the ultimate goal.  People are choosing a surprising variety of destinations some of which include the Himalayas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Thailand, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Indonesia and Nicaragua.

Travelling with a holistic intent brings so much depth and wonder, that when we return from such an experience we feel that we are ready to take on the world.  It’s like a reset button.  For many, they have already started to incorporate a healthier lifestyle at home and the holistic retreat experience is simply an extension of where they are at already.  Beautifully prepared organic anti-inflammatory meals, spas, walking and cycling, adventure, mindful meditation, silence, and relaxation provide the perfect recipe for rejuvenation.

“We are seeing a huge increase in the wellness travel sector, where the fastest growing segment is made up of guests who simply want to combine elements of wellness with their vacations,” said Six Senses Spas vice president Anna Bjurstam.

It used to be that people went on a vacation and that was it.  Now we are seeing goal oriented, vision quest wellness vacations that often involve a retreat and an opportunity for wellness.  According the the “Global Wellness Institute”, the wellness travel sector will exceed $600 billion in 2017!  With meditation, yoga and vegan diets becoming more mainstream, the western ideological vacation has changed.  Holistic health is not just a fad, it’s a consequence of living in stressful times as well as the pressures of Western society: earning money, buying new things and looking good.

Looking to Combine Retreat & Adventure

Some examples of the types of retreats people are looking for are a mixture of both relaxing as well as adventure.  Surfing and yoga is becoming very popular in many destinations amongst millennials and gen-x’ers.  At Original Surf Morocco (see video below), they give the following tip on meditation and surfing: “Over time, as you continue to practice, you will notice that you are not only catching more waves, but perhaps knowing and loving yourself a bit more, maybe even perceiving your external reality with an increased zest of compassion, grace, light.” These type of retreats often include a blend of surfing classes, standup paddleboarding, yoga, meditation, fitness, massage and healthy organic food.  Many of these retreats are female oriented.

Seeking Refuge from Noise & Digital Detox

Even the buildings or structures for hotels and retreats have changed considerably over the years due to mindfulness in architecture and design.  For instance the brand-new, completely “Silent Spa” at Therme Laa Hotel, Austria utilizes sacred geometry in its design to create a totally serene sanctuary.  These silence retreat spaces help people restore their inner silence and make a space for inner contemplation.  Delivering peace is the new solution from spas to hotels to restaurants through “silence”.


Wanting to Get Closer to Nature

The desire for healing which embodies greater contact to nature and dissatisfaction with traditional western medicine has spawned healing retreats all over the world.  In other words the postmodern condition has inspired wellness travel.  Places like Peru have experienced a massive increase of wellness tourism, with overall visitors doubling in the last 10 years.  Many of those tourists go there to experience a whole new reality with the plant known as Ayahuasca and other plant medicine.   For people who have ever had trauma in their lives or have dealt with depression, many have experienced radical healing.  The reason for the healing is because the plant medicine addresses the mental, emotional or energetic disorder within the individual. Watch this video here on one man’s journey that was totally transformational.  However, as the video clearly depicts, the journey was intense and even terrifying in parts.


Using travel as a means to focus on your health is a wonderful idea.  It helps us work on the parts of our health that have been neglected and gives us a whole new start upon our return home.

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Suzanne Daley